"Dashi (broth) event" held at Kasetsart University, Thailand

"Dashi (broth) event" held at Kasetsart University, Thailand

August 20, 2010

Ajinomoto Integrative Research for Advanced Dieting (Endowed Chair) of the Graduate School of Agriculture, the Graduate School of Agriculture, Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Organization for the Promotion of International Relations co-hosted the "Dashi (broth) event" at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand.

The first event was held last year, and this second event introduced cutting-edge research on diet conducted at Kyoto University, and provided an opportunity to taste "dashi (broth)," the foundation of Japanese cuisine, for local university students whose research themes are "diet" and/or "Japanese culture." There are many Asian dishes that maximize the umami (the fifth taste sensation) of dashi. Japanese cuisine and Thai cuisine may seem to have nothing in common, but they both use dashi from fish in their dishes. This event was held for the purpose of sharing the umami of dashi, which is used heavily in Japanese dishes, and to exchange opinions on the significance of maintaining the traditional cuisine of one's country. There were approximately 70 participants from Kasetsart University, including students and faculty from faculties of Agriculture and Domestic Science, and Japanese Department.

After the introduction of the intent of this event by the Graduate School of Agriculture Professor Eiji Nawata, the Graduate School of Agriculture Professor Toru Fushiki gave a lecture on the scientific analysis of the umami of dashi titled "Importance of traditional UMAMI taste for Asians," and then the Graduate School of Agriculture Assistant Professor Hanae Hamazaki gave a lecture titled "An introductory guide to traditional Japanese cuisine." This was followed by cooking demonstrations by three chefs from famous Japanese restaurants in Kyoto (Isshi-soden Nakamura, Kinobu and Jikishinbo Saiki). Divided into three groups, the participants watched the chefs make dashi with plenty of dried bonito flakes and seaweed, and enjoyed tasting osuimono (clear soup) made with local ingredients and eel bozushi (bar-shaped sushi).

Thai people may be accustomed to sweet, spicy and sour dishes such as tom yam kung, but many were also able to enjoy the subtle tastes of dashi in Japanese cuisine. The event was a great success.

From left, Professor Nawata, Professor Fushiki, Assistant Professor Yamazaki

Audience listening attentively to the lecture

Experiencing the perfect dashi

Students tasting dashi with a serious expression

With students of the Department of Japanese who translated for us

From left, Chef Motokazu Nakamura, Chef Mitsuru Saiki, Chef Takuji Takahashi